IMPORTANT NOTICE: The content of this article is intended to only provide a general guide to the patent grace periods. Laws in countries change so the advice from a patent attorney in the country you are seeking patent protection needs to be sought about your specific circumstances before making a decision on how to proceed with any decision to avoid the loss of patent rights.
Overview of Patent “Grace Periods”
Some countries allow patent applications to file a patent application within a 12 month or 6 month “grace period
.” Countries that give patent applicants a grace period to file a patent application include the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and Japan.
However, many countries (e.g. Europe, China) do not
allow a patent applicant to file a patent application if they have already made a public disclosure
(e.g. offer sale, sale, shown on a website, displayed at a trade show, publicly demonstrated, etc.). These countries are sometimes referred to as “absolute novelty” countries.
12 Month Grace Period Countries
The United States gives patent applicants 12 months from their first public disclosure to file a patent application. Below is a non-exhaustive listing of countries that give a 12 month grace period from a patent applicant’s first public disclosure to file a patent application (check with a local patent attorney prior to making a decision):
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- Japan (12 months for applications filed on or after June 9, 2018; 6 months for applications filed before June 9, 2018)
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
- United Kingdom (very limited)
- United States of America
6 Month Grace Period Countries
Below is non-exhaustive listing of countries that give a 6 month grace period from a patent applicant’s first public disclosure to file a patent application (always check with a local patent attorney before making a decision):
As stated above, every country is different and some of the “grace periods” apply only to specific situations. You therefore need to consult with a patent attorney licensed in a country you would like to apply for patent protection in before
making any public disclosure of your invention.